Message from Chad Leith: September 3, 2021

Photo of Morse School Staff Faculty
Dear members of the Morse School community,

Welcome back! I hope that you and your families have enjoyed a wonderful summer vacation, even as we have continued to manage the challenges of the COVID pandemic. On behalf of the entire Morse School staff, I want to tell you how excited we are to welcome your children back into our classrooms and learning spaces. In my first newsletter of the 2021-2022 school year, I want to share some important information and reminders that will help make sure that we get the year off to a safe and positive start.

Opening Day & School Hours

  • Thursday, September 9th - First day of school for students in Grades 1-5.
  • Monday, September 13th - First day of school for JK/K students.
  • Doors open at 8:10AM; Students must be in classrooms by 8:25AM.
  • Students are dismissed at 2:25PM

COVID Safety Protocols
Based on updated guidelines from City and State agencies, we are currently planning to keep the following key COVID-safety procedures in place:

  • Masking for all students and staff throughout the day when indoors. Here is some helpful guidance on selecting an appropriate mask for your child. Children will not be required to wear masks when outdoors.
  • Arrival and dismissal procedures that have most students entering and departing directly from their classrooms.
  • Breakfast and lunch outdoors (when possible) and/or in the classroom with 3ft distancing when children are indoors and unmasked.
  • Parents will not be allowed in the building during school hours without my permission.

For those of you who had a child learning in-person at the Morse School last year, things will look very similar. For families of children who did not attend in-person schooling last year, I will be hosting an information session from
5-6 PM this Tuesday, September 7th so that I can address any questions or concerns that you have (please register here if you would like to attend). More information can be found on the CPS COVID Information Page.

Arrival & Dismissal
Please take a moment to review this 2-page document with information about this year’s arrival and dismissal procedures.

New Staff Members, New Roles, & Staff Transitions
I am very excited to introduce several educators who have joined the Morse School team (please click here to learn more about our new staff members!). In addition to our new hires, we also have several staff members who have taken on new roles in our building. Nadège Sterling will be serving as our 3rd grade special educator, Mary Gallant will be serving as our math interventionist, and Neal Klinman (“Mr. K”) and Michelle Connelly have switched roles, with Mr. K teaching Junior Kindergarten and Ms. Connelly teaching Kindergarten. Rick Weir, Betty MacKenzie, and Isabel Eccles have retired.

Photo of morse school staff member meetingOur Focus for the Coming Year
As educators, we are very much aware that children will need additional care and support as we return to school in the midst of the pandemic. We are also determined to keep working towards the goals articulated in the Morse School Statement on Race & Equity. On Wednesday September 1st our teachers, paraprofessionals, and specialists met in the Morse School gym to reconnect with one another and to renew our shared commitment to:

  • Ensuring that all members of our community feel a sense of belonging; and,
  • Ensuring that every child enjoys positive social, emotional, and academic growth.

As part of our first staff meeting, all members of our staff received a copy of the book Start Here, Start Now: A Guide to Antibias and Antiracist Work in Your School Community, by Liz Kleinrock, which will help inform the steps we take. To achieve our goals, we will also be using some new assessments to help monitor our students’ progress and make sure that we are providing them with the learning activities that will help them take their next steps. To help your child build essential skills in reading and mathematics, we will be using i-Ready, which you can learn about by watching this video and/or reviewing the i-Ready Family Guide.

You can help us support your child by completing the Fall 2021 Morse Family Welcome Survey. A hard copy was sent home in the mail along with your child’s classroom placement letter. If you would prefer, you can complete the survey online. We ask that you complete the survey or send a hard copy home by the first day of school. Your child’s teacher will also be in touch with you soon to schedule a September conference, so that you and your child can share more about your hopes and dreams for the 2021-2022 school year.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about the school reopening, please reach out to me or our amazing Clerk Elaine Delaney. We can also both be reached by calling the Main Office at 617.349.6575.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you and your child on the first day of school!

Principal Chad Leith

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